The Captain returns as CC pitches Yanks to 3-2 win

Phelps shines for Charleston
Yanks still facing heat over DL use

Before Joe Girardi officially filled out his lineup card, there was uncertainty as to whether Derek Jeter would play in last night’s series finale against the Blue Jays. The Captain has been suffering what he calls a sore oblique, never an easy injury for a baseball player. It requires rest to heal. Unfortunately, rest does not fit Derek Jeter’s M.O. He returned to the lineup, though, and came through for the Yanks on more than one occasion.

His first act came in the bottom of the sixth. With Alex Rios on first and two men out, Jose Bautista worked a 2-2 count on CC Sabathia. The hefty lefty had unleashed a barrage of fastballs in the at bat, two hitting 94, one 96, and the latest one 97. On the fifth pitch he pulled the string, dropped to 85 mph. Bautista pulled it toward the hole, but there would be no Pasta Diving on this evening. Jeter laid out and snared the grounder, flipping to Cano to finish the inning.

Then, with the Yanks down 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Jeter was presented with one of those RISP situations in which the Yanks have generally failed this season. Brett Gardner had worked a four-pitch walk off Brian Tallet, his fifth of the night. Girardi called for a hit and run on a 2-1 count, and it couldn’t have gone any better. Frankie grounded one to short, which Marco Scutaro almost certainly would have turned into a double play if he weren’t out of position. He was, the ball squeaked through, and to the plate strolled Derek Jeter with two on and none out.

After taking a strike out the outside edge from new pitcher Jason Frasor, The Captain did what he does best. On a 94 mph fastball on the inside edge, Jeter did his inside-oot (as the Blue Jays broadcasters said) thing, lofting a ball over John McDonald’s head and into shallow right for a game-tying single. It was Jeterian in every sense of the term. Unfortunately, the 2-3-4 hitters couldn’t plate the RISP. The Yanks would have to save the comeback for another inning.

Leave it to Godzilla. Exactly one week after he hit a solo home run to tie the game against the Rays, he did the exact same thing. Except this time it put the Yanks on top. On a 2-2 count, Matsui took a Jesse Carlson slider, the first he’d thrown in the at bat, over the right-center field wall, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. It was Matsui’s first hit since the series opener in Baltimore last Friday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

CC Sabathia wasn’t quite as good as his last start, but eight innings, two runs is the mark of an ace, even if he didn’t get there in the most efficient fashion. Only one of his four walks came back to haunt him, but for a while that run loomed large, as it gave the Jays a 2-1 advantage. That inning, the bottom of the fifth, could have been a lot worse had Brett Gardner and Frankie Cervelli not hooked up to get Rod Barajas trying to score on a John McDonald single. We’ve seen Gardner try to uncork a throw or two this year, usually with disastrous results. On this one he took his time, throwing a strike in time to get Barajas and keep the Jays from extending the lead.

Sabathia took care of the rest, getting Marco Scutaro to ground out on the first pitch, ending the threat. True to form, CC powered through three more frames, laying his own bridge to Mo. Like Mo of old, he came in and mowed down the Jays, throwing six of his 11 pitches for strikes and retiring the Jays in order.

While the Yanks’ inability to capitalize on Tallet’s five walks was a bit frustrating, it’s tough to complain about this win. It was a close game wherein the Yankees scored a run in three separate innings. Whereas last week we talked about how the Yankees were finding ways to lose, today they found another way to win: by manufacturing a run or two and relying on some timely hitting. The win brought the Yanks back to .500, a mark they hopefully won’t see the rest of the season (though this isn’t the first time I’ve typed that).

The Yanks head back home tomorrow night for a four-game set against the Twinkies. It’s the disappointing Phil Hughes vs. the disappointing Francisco Liriano. I’m betting one of them won’t disappoint.

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Phelps shines for Charleston
Yanks still facing heat over DL use
  • RCK

    It feels so good to be on the winning side of one of these close games!

  • Tom Zig

    Phranchise vs. Franchise…interesting match up. Here is to hoping that the real Phranchise shows up.

  • dkidd

    supposed to rain all weekend, of course

    • Tom Zig

      Even Mother Nature hates the Yankees.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        I blame A-Rod for global warming.

        • Tom Zig

          A-rod killed off the Mayans and the Aztecs.

          • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

            A-Rod seduced Adam and Eve.

            • Mike Pop

              A-Rod kidnapped my sister.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                Arod was responsible for the Spanish Inquisition.

                • jsbrendog

                  arod is kaiser sosa

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  K-E-Y-S-E-R
                  S-O-Z-E

                • jsbrendog

                  mmmm kaiser rolls.

                  whatever you got the point

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  That’s it, jsb, I’m putting you on the DL.

                • jsbrendog

                  i’m healthy. i want to be out there commenting and helping the team.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Nope, you’re injured. You’ve got hip fatigue.

  • Yankees Ben

    nice review just one lil’ thing McDonald played second and Scutaro short. but hey a nice win.

    • andrew

      i’m pretty sure that’s what he has in the article… Cervelli’s ground ball was past Scutaro, at short. Jeter’s blooper was over Mcdonald’s head at second.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        I changed it after he pointed out the error. For some reason I thought McDonald was at short. Oh well.

  • yankees=warriors

    Hope Hughes does well so that if he is sent down after this start, he’ll have gone on a positive note and has something to build off of.

    Don’t know why I didn’t notice before, but after listening to Gardner’s postgame interview today, I would say he has a cute kinda accent. Is it just the way he talks, or is that typical of where he came from?

    • gxpanos

      Cute?

      CUTE!?

      How dare you! His accent is a regional one, and it’s from Grittstown, USA. And it is NOT cute. It’s dirty and pine tar-y. It’s what manual labor would sound like if manual labor could talk!

      • jsbrendog

        ietc

      • JP

        GRIT + MANUAL LABORER = CUTE
        At least that’s what this chick in my office told me.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Aunt Becca-Optimist Prime

      Dude, there’s only one cute Yankee and his name is Francisco Cervelli.

      • yankees=warriors

        LOL, I thought you liked Swisher?

        • Tom Zig

          She probably got turned off by all the fat lips he packs.

          Is it just me or is all of a sudden almost everyone packing lips on the Yanks?

          Swisher and AJ especially.

  • Nick

    There is a chance Hughes and Liriano disappoint and there are double digits on the board by the end of the game.

    • Tom Zig

      That’s okay we excel in those type of games.

    • JP

      I say Hughes mows down the twinkies. He’s reeeeeally close to breaking through. Even when Baltimore shelled him, it seemed like they were hitting good pitches.

      The guy struck out Youkilis in that Boston outing. Yeah just one batter, but how many people have made stupid-looking-and-no-longer-hip-goatee man with the praying mantis batting stance swing and miss this year?

  • ARX

    A 2-1 series win, and a trio of Boston losses…this may be the best Friday morning at work in ages.

    • Tampa Yankee

      Add the Big Papi line of 0-7 3K’s 12 LOB and last night was a good night.

      • Bo

        When Bret Gardner has more homers than you, it may be time to worry.

        • Chris

          Loved this comment from Bill Simmons chat last night:

          Josh (Hoboken, NJ): Bill– just thought I’d bring up that every player on the ice tonight have as many HR’s as David Ortiz…

          SportsNation Bill Simmons: Please stop. No more. I am waving the flag.

      • JP

        Any chance Selena Throberts will write an expose on Big Papi’s PED history?

        • Brendo

          Why her? No one will buy it or read it.

    • George G

      All of Boston lost last night, even if the Yankees didn’t win it would be a great friday!

  • JP

    I love that kind of baseball game.

  • Will

    One of the best things to come out of the win was Mo backed up his Baltimore outing with the same increased velocity and movement. Nearly every cutter he threw was 92-93mph with a PitchFx of 11-13″. That’s pretty much the old Mo and a vast improvement from the loss to Tampa Bay. If Mo sustains this improvement and Bruney can return soon, then the bullpen might be ok…not great, but ok.

    • JP

      Glad to hear you say this, because that wasn’t the impression I got from the YES gun and the views of his pitches.

      I’m NOT saying you’re wrong, I’m saying I was worried about the YES ratings of 89-90 on the fastballs, considering the YES gun is considered to err on the high side.

      The cutters, to me anyway, didn’t look like they had lots of “boring” movement, but they didn’t hit ‘em, so maybe they did.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “I’m NOT saying you’re wrong, I’m saying I was worried about the YES ratings of 89-90 on the fastballs, considering the YES gun is considered to err on the high side.”

        Is that so? When I watch games on YES and check pitch velocity through MLB it always seems like the YES gun actually errs on the low side.

        • JP

          Maybe so…but the ‘rap on it is that it’s artificially high. Then again, I probably read that on the anti-Yankee baseball network, ESPN

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Interesting, never heard that.

            • Axl

              All rise for the honorable Judge Reinhold…

        • Will

          The YES gun is very unreliable…I’ve noticed enough fastball’s clocked in the 60s to not put much credence in it.

          The figures I sited were from PitchFX accessed from MLB.com’s Gameday application. PitchFX uses two cameras taking 25 pictures of each pitch. It’s not infallible, but I think it is the most reliable source.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I’m with you, I use the same velocity readings. I’ve found the YES readings to be consistently lower than the MLB readings this season, so I just found it curious that JP seems to be under the opposite impression.

        • BklynJT

          What confuses me is that years ago the YES gun had Mo clocked in at the mid 90’s.

          Maybe the gun at the new stadium reads the velocity at different location (mid way towards home plate as opposed to right out of the pitchers hand) which can result in a lower velocity reading.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “What confuses me is that years ago the YES gun had Mo clocked in at the mid 90’s.”

            Well, years ago Mo WAS throwing in the mid 90s.

          • Will

            Where the gun reads the speed is definitely a factor. Also, the calibration of the gun along with its position relative to the ball are likely reasons for variance.

            By using multiple cameras instead of a radar device, PitchFX “should” be a more reliable determinant of speed (because it can link up distances with times).

  • ChrisS

    Cervelli is a fine backup catcher. Good gun, not afraid of blocking the plate, and seems to have a good idea of where to set-up. Compare the throw from Gardner to Frankie, off-line and on a hop IIRC, to the throw from Melky to Cash the other night, on target and on a hop. Cash was eaten up and the run scored. Molina’s good, but is Cervelli just as good with higher upside?

    • JP

      I don’t know about the upside, although I guess compared to Molina, who was about as bad an offensive player as you can be last season, maybe you’re right. I agree, Cervelli does look very competent behind the plate.

      • Bo

        He’s had a good week but lets remember this is a guy who was hitting under 200 in Double A.

        • Chris

          But it also doesn’t take much for a 23 year old catcher to have a higher upside than a 34 year old catcher.

        • greg

          in 50 whole ABs!!

          • andrew

            It’s not like it was some huge out of the ordinary slump though… he wasn’t exactly mashing the ball before this year.

    • The Lodge

      Cervelli is impressive behind the plate. He calls a great game and has really soft hands; he seems to have a great feel for and can read the hitters; and he works that days ump’s strikezone really well. I think we lucked out with this guy (offense aside), Molina can take his time rehabbing.

      • JP

        You might be right, but over the years, I’ve noticed that ANY time a team starts using a new catcher, everyone praises him for doing a great job “calling the game and handling the pitchers.” Not saying he isn’t…but these are the same things they said about Molina a year ago.

        At the very least, I don’t think we’re losing anything, compared to Molina, with Cervelli.

        • jsbrendog

          if their game caling abilities are even close, then you have to go with cervelli as he can actually walk faster than jomo can run, and even tho he is a historically poor hitter, he is so young that his upside, even tho possibly nonexistent, is to remain on a stable plane AT LEAST, where as jomo is on the ever so fateful plunge into below replacement level.

          so i feel more than comfortable saying in this situation, in a vacuum, based solely on these two players, that cervelli is molina with bigger upside.

          • JP

            Agree with all of that.

  • Axl

    Well has Hughes gotten battered 4 or 5 games in a row yet? If he has he may be in line for a gem tonight…if it’s only been 2 or 3 absolute beatings in a row for Hughes…then unfortunately we’re just going to have to suffer through a few more :( Hey, I don’t make the rules…

    • Mike Pop

      Those aren’t the rules. that’s just what fans like you expect.

      • Axl

        So you’re telling me I have the power to “expect” certain things…and they just all of the sudden HAPPEN?!?!? Incredible!

        • BklynJT

          Please stop talking about the no hitter in the 7th inning, your going to jinx it!

  • Hobbes

    I thought if Jeter came back, he would be out 3 months?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      It’s caled a risk. Which the apparenty retarded Joe Girardi wanted to avoid so he benched Jeter. Jeter was okay to play so he played.

      • jsbrendog

        so why is girardi apparently retarded?

      • JP

        Maybe he was ok, maybe he wasn’t, but told Girardi he was ok to play anyway. Remember the debacle last season when he hit like .200 with no power for 6 weeks or whatever it was, after getting beaned on the wrist. Not to make too much of this, but watch his hitting….

        • jsbrendog

          i turned the game on the inning before he came through with the tying hit. i saw him at short and said to my gf, i bet he has no hits and is playing hurt because he thinks theyre better off with a sucky injured jeter than another guy wihle he gets better.

          and i was right. he had no hits. until he shut me up and drove in the tying run. after i said watch he’ll either gidp and the run will score or he’ll hit a sac fly but he’ll come through. i was so happy when he singled.

          • JP

            I was happy, too. But it was sort of a bloop…ARod’s smash gets gloved, and Jeter ties the game with a dying quail. Karma?

            • jsbrendog

              no pure coincidence.

            • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

              Jeter also roped a one hopper at the shortstop to leadoff the game and was thrown out on a good play by McDonald. It happens, he looked fine to me.

              • JP

                I wouldn’t call it a rope. I’d say it was more like twine.

  • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

    4.1 scoreless innings for the bullpen in this series. It’s weird it’s almost as if when the starters pitch well, go deep in the game, and the bullpen isn’t throwing 4 innings a day they’re pretty solid.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      I wonder if anyone has brought this up recently. Hmm…

      • jsbrendog

        hmmmmmmmm your ides intrigue me. i’d like to subscribe to your newsletter

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      It’s weird it’s almost as if when the starters pitch well, go deep in the game, and the bullpen isn’t throwing 4 innings a day they’re pretty solid.

      Wait, you mean good starting pitching helps a bullpen pitch better by limiting their exposure?

      :: head explodes ::

      • http://eemack.blogspot.com Jackson

        Crazy how it works like that isn’t it?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          OMAR MINAYA, YOU LIED TO ME!!!!!!!

          • jsbrendog

            that’s what tim redding was thinking

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I think you mean “Tim Reddings”

              Back to the DL with you, jsb.

    • JP

      Eeeeeeeeeeeyuppp! That’s the ticket.

      Has anyone ever wondered why teams will make it to the WS and you’ll hear about some stud reliever who has been “so important” to the team. Brendan Donnelly? There are others…

      Anyway, a year or 2 later, the bullpen stud is just another faceless arm with a mediocre whip getting shelled from the bullpen. It’s because of the exposure, which is related to the effectiveness of the starters.

      There are _some_ true bullpen studs, and we happen to have one of them. But _most_ relievers are below average pitchers. If they weren’t, they’d be starters. They may occasionally do very well if their usage is managed correctly, but the number of true, long-career stars as bullpen pitchers is rare.